PokerStars Founder Admits to Running an Illegal Gambling Business

PokerStars Founder Admits to Running an Illegal Gambling Business

Isai Scheinberg, the 73-year-old founder of PokerStars admitted on Wednesday that he was running an illegal online gambling business.

Admittance comes nearly after a decade

Scheinberg and several other poker executives were indicted by New York prosecutors about nine years ago. Federal Prosecutors charged him and 10 other principals working at three different online gambling companies with illegal gambling, bank fraud and money laundering in March 2011. All other executives have already pleaded guilty to the offense and have been sentenced.

PokerStars Founder Admits to Running an Illegal Gambling Business

PokerStars also agreed to pay $731 million in 2012 with the Justice Department but it did not admit to any wrongdoing. Scheinberg is a Canadian and Israeli national who was arrested in June 2019 in Switzerland. He was brought back to the US in January. He could face about five years in prison but his sentence has not yet been set. The prosecutors have agreed to seek a shorter sentence of 12 to 18 months under his plea agreement.

What does Scheinberg expect?

According to the executive’s spokesperson, he is pleased to leave the matter behind him. In a statement, he said,

“Notably, all PokerStars players were paid back immediately and Mr. Scheinberg played an important role in ensuring that all of the players from other sites were repaid as well.”

Note that the executive pleaded not guilty to all charges and paid a $1 million bail to get released. On Wednesday, he changed his stance and pled guilty to one count of operating illegal online gambling. According to the Department of Justice, Congress is seeking the maximum penalty of five years for him. However, Judge Lewis A. Kaplan will decide his sentence at a later date.

According to Manhattan US Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman,

“Ten years ago, this Office charged 11 defendants who operated, or provided fraudulent payment processing services to, three of the largest online poker companies then operating in the United States – PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker, and Absolute Poker – with operating illegal gambling businesses and other crime.”

The government has already seized the domain names as well as the funds of all online poker rooms that were working in the US after the Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act came into force in 2006. Scheinberg operated his business for nine years while residing outside of the US.

About sherlock

Sherlock Gomes loves to write and express his views on anything related to Gaming, Gambling, & Casino. He has been covering Gaming for more than two years now.